Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison




THESE are the days that try us; these the hours
That find, or leave us, cowards—doubters of Heaven,
Sceptics of self, and riddled through with vain
Blind questionings as to Deity. Mute, we scan
The sky, the barren, wan, the drab, dull sky,


And mark it utterly blank. Whereas, a fool,
The flippant fungoid growth of modern mode,
Uncapped, unbelled, unshorn, but still a fool,
Fate at his fingers’ ends, and Cause in tow,
Or, wiser, say, the Yorick of his age,


The Touchstone of his period, would forecast
Better than us, the film and foam rose
That yet may float upon the eastern grays
At dawn to-morrow.

  Still, and if we could,
We would not change our gloom for glibness, lose
Our wonder in our faith. We are not worse
Than those in whom the myth was strongest, those
In whom first awe lived longest, those who found
—Dear Pagans—gods in fountain, flood and flower.
Sometimes the old Hellenic base stirs, live,
Within us, and we thrill to branch and beam
When walking where the aureoled autumn sun
Looms golden through the chestnuts. But to-day—
When sodden leaves are merged in melting mire,
And garden-plots lie pilfered, and the vines
Are strings of tangled rigging reft of green,
Crude harps whereon the winter wind shall play
His bitter music—on a day like this,
We, harbouring no Hellenic images, stand
In apathy mute before our window pane,
And muse upon the blankness. Then, O, then,
If ever, should we thank our God for those
Rare spirits who have testified in faith
Of such a world as this, and straight we pray
For such an eye as Wordsworth’s, he who saw
System in anarchy, progress in ruin, peace
In devastation. Duty was his star—
May it be ours—this Star the Preacher missed.


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